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Climate change governance and institutions research 
contributing towards development outcomes 
Governance & Institutions ...
Outline 
• Research Challenges Ahead 
• The Importance of Comparative Politics 
• Domestic Governance Factors 
– Instituti...
Research Challenges Ahead 
• Near exclusive focus on institutions 
– Tendency in the existing literature towards normative...
The Importance 
of Comparative Politics 
• Comparative politics is emerging as an exciting new 
approach for the study of ...
3 Groups of Political Factors 
Important in Comparative Politics 
• Institutions 
– Institutions produce a distinctive com...
Institutions 
• Formal versus Informal Institutions 
– The role of formal institutions in developing world may diverge 
qu...
Interests 
• The relationship between groups of actors is complex, often 
involving competing political factions rooted in...
Ideas 
• Climate science has not been sufficiently effective in 
driving change because of the different ways that 
scient...
Integrating International and 
Domestic Politics 
• Issues of international political economy also play a 
role 
• Relevan...
Example of Climate Finance 
Governance in East Africa 
• Tanzania and Uganda 
– Very similar in terms of level of economic...
Catalyzing Research on Climate 
Governance at the CCAFS 
1) New Dimensions in Institutional Research 
– Community-Based Ad...
Conclusions 
• Methods and conceptual tools of comparative politics 
can shine light on political and economic factors 
im...
Asante sana! 
Questions? 
Mark Purdon, PhD 
Department of International Development & GRI 
London School of Economics 
m.p...
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Climate change governance and institutions research contributing towards development outcomes

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Presentation held by Mark Purdon, PhD, during the Governance & Institutions Across Scales in Climate Resilient Food Systems Brussels Workshop 9-11 Sept 2014. Workshop held by CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Flagship 4.

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Climate change governance and institutions research contributing towards development outcomes

  1. 1. Climate change governance and institutions research contributing towards development outcomes Governance & Institutions Across Scales in Climate Resilient Food Systems Brussels Workshop – September 9, 2014 Mark Purdon, PhD Department of International Development & GRI London School of Economics m.purdon@lse.ac.uk
  2. 2. Outline • Research Challenges Ahead • The Importance of Comparative Politics • Domestic Governance Factors – Institutions – Interests – Ideas • Integrating International and Domestic Politics • Example of Climate Finance Governance in East Africa • Catalyzing Research on Climate Governance at the CCAFS • Conclusion
  3. 3. Research Challenges Ahead • Near exclusive focus on institutions – Tendency in the existing literature towards normative analysis of governance that privileges institutions over other political factors • Preponderance of case-study research – Too much of the existing research into climate change adaptation and food security has been comprised of unstructured, single case-studies • Dependent Variable Problem – Little consensus about what the outcome of adaptation policy should be nor how to measure it
  4. 4. The Importance of Comparative Politics • Comparative politics is emerging as an exciting new approach for the study of global environmental issues – Should be seen as a compliment to recent research into climate change politics that has focused on transnational, non-state actors and multi-scalar climate governance • Positivist Epistemology – Comparativists explicitly seek to tie observations “to more general ideas about politics” – Seeks to predict political behaviour and produce tractable policy recommendations • Comparative Methods – Comparison is one of the basic scientific methods of discovering empirical relationships among variables in the effort to establish general propositions
  5. 5. 3 Groups of Political Factors Important in Comparative Politics • Institutions – Institutions produce a distinctive combination of sanctions and incentives that shape patterns of political influence and organization and lead political and economic actors toward some kinds of behavior and away from others • Interests – Interests refer to the “real, material interests of the principal actors, whether conceived as individuals or groups” • Ideas – “Ideas-oriented approaches to political economy have real value in that they capture dimensions of human interaction normally lost in other perspectives”
  6. 6. Institutions • Formal versus Informal Institutions – The role of formal institutions in developing world may diverge quite significantly and systematically from an Weberian ideal type (Sangmpam, 2007) – We also know that in the developing world, informal institutions are much more important • Collective Property Institutions versus Individualized Institutions – Community-based adaptation is seen as one appropriate response to anticipated climate change (Ayers and Forsyth, 2009; Forsyth, 2013) – But collective property institutions are not only type of institution with bearing on climate change adaptation and food security • Activities such as agriculture and tree-crop farming are often better governed as individual private goods because the costs of the enforcement of property rights is low relative to the benefits of private ownership (Otsuka and Place, 2001: 18).
  7. 7. Interests • The relationship between groups of actors is complex, often involving competing political factions rooted in societal interests – Political Settlements (Khan 2010) – State Power for Development (Kholi 2004) • Climate change is but one of many factors that affect the aggregate interests of any state, societal or market actor • The interests at play in climate change adaptation and food security are only beginning to be addressed – Government interest and ethno-regional patronage drive resource allocations in food aid, natural disaster response and public school funding – Subnational distribution of adaptation funds in Malawi (Barrett 2014): • Driven primarily by donor utility, district absorptive capacity, and physical vulnerability • Inversely related to socioeconomic vulnerability • Patronage is less important • “Good Enough” Governance? – What is the likelihood of climate change leading to radical transformation of existing power structures and material resources for climate justice.
  8. 8. Ideas • Climate science has not been sufficiently effective in driving change because of the different ways that scientific ideas become politicized as well as the material interests at play in climate policy • How do ideas interact with other factors? – “…in order for new ideas to progress they must ‘work on’ interests to realign the policy goals of collective actors, and they must ‘work through’ organizations to transform policy-making routines and state capacities” (Bradford, 1999: 18) • Competing Ideas – Economic Ideas – Legitimacy – Moral Politics
  9. 9. Integrating International and Domestic Politics • Issues of international political economy also play a role • Relevant examples – Debate about how best to leverage the funds necessary for international adaptation – Historical and on-going food insecurity in LDCs is arguably linked to unequal power relations in international political economy – Current shift in the global balance of power occurring with the rise of emerging economies, particularly China.
  10. 10. Example of Climate Finance Governance in East Africa • Tanzania and Uganda – Very similar in terms of level of economic development, population and history – Very different in terms of political economy  economic ideas • Differences in economic ideas lead to different policy outcomes – Tanzania  “developmentalist” • Tanzanian state was less inclined to engage with the CDM despite retaining the capacity to do so. • A more donor-friendly country, Tanzania has provided more fertile terrain for RED+ and Adaptation initiatives than Uganda – Uganda  “Liberal developmentalist” • State was poised to engage with the CDM in the extension of existing state development initiatives • But less donor interest in the promotion of REDD+ and Adaptation
  11. 11. Catalyzing Research on Climate Governance at the CCAFS 1) New Dimensions in Institutional Research – Community-Based Adaptation versus more Individualized Approaches – Formal versus Informal Institutions – Institutions linking SubnationNationalRegionalInternational 2) Research Beyond Institutions 3) The Importance of Comparative Methods 4) Addressing the Dependent Variable Problem 5) “Good Enough Governance”
  12. 12. Conclusions • Methods and conceptual tools of comparative politics can shine light on political and economic factors important for climate change adaptation and food security – Identifying causal factors important in different contexts – Emphasizes the need for conceptual clarity of the dependent variable • While institutions remain important, greater incorporation of ideas and interests to render research findings more effective • Global political context matters and should calibrate donor expectations of when governance is good enough
  13. 13. Asante sana! Questions? Mark Purdon, PhD Department of International Development & GRI London School of Economics m.purdon@lse.ac.uk

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